How people cope in the emerging market crisis

GMT 17:37 2015 Tuesday ,06 October

Arab Today, arab today How people cope in the emerging market crisis

Austerity has affected the lives of people around the world
Paris - AFP

From booking a holiday to something as basic as buying bread or cooking oil, the crisis in emerging markets has gripped many aspects of people's lives.

World finance ministers gather in the Peruvian capital Lima from October 9-11 to ponder the crisis, prompted largely by a China-led commodities price crash, but people are already feeling its impact.

Four people from emerging economies around the world describe how they cope with the dwindling value of their money:

In the Zambian capital of Lusaka, 38-year-old electronics and household goods stock controller Gibson Chivunda is struggling.

"Prices have skyrocketed while the value of my salary has continued to depreciate," the married father of three said in an interview. Bread, maize flour and cooking oil prices have soared.
"Where we used to buy three bottles of cooking oil, we are now buying two bottles and in the remaining days of each month we use pounded ground nuts instead," Chivunda said

"Imported goods are too expensive. Shops keep changing prices every other hour."

Chivunda said he could no longer take his family on holiday or out to dinner because his salary cannot keep pace with the depreciating value of the currency.

Some shops are now charging in dollars, Chivunda said, adding that he was considering opening a dollar-denominated bank account.

The relatively well-off are feeling the pinch, too.

In Rio de Janeiro, 28-year-old lawyer Priscilla Rocha, who lives in a new suburb dotted with shopping malls, said she will still be taking her US vacation in December.
"But the purpose of the trip has changed. Instead of going to buy clothes and cosmetics like I used to, I will get to know the country and travel. I won't buy hardly anything," Rocha said.

"My income is not affected but I am spending less. I used to go to the shopping mall every week and buy something. But it is not just the fall of the real. People fear the economic crisis, prices have gone up with inflation, they are scared to consume, the media only speak about that and it's contributing to the pessimism. Everyone is saving a bit."

Rocha said she saves about 20 percent of her salary and changes it into dollars "because I don't know whether the real is going to carry on falling."

Anggrita Desyani, a 25-year-old press officer at a government-backed science association in Jakarta, has a steady job and income but is seeing some prices go up.

"Electronic appliances are getting more expensive, while things you use every day like food and transportation is not changing so much," she said.
Desyani said she had advised her father against buying a computer hard drive. "The price is much higher than when I bought one, three or five months ago. I said: 'Maybe you should wait'."

The rupiah's sharp decline also pushed up the cost of a holiday to Japan, she said. "I had already booked tickets and also hotels so changing the date was not an option for me," she said. "But I had to spend more.”

In Colombia, where the peso has plunged along with oil prices, 35-year-old Jose Francisco Socarrasin has been a teaching technology at a school in the capital Bogota for the past 10 years.

He is not married but looks after his mother. "We all have responsibilities that we cannot ignore," he said.

Last year, his regular salary no longer sufficed and he started to teach extra classes privately. Now those extra classes have stretched to four hours a day, in addition to the eight hours he teaches at school.

"I would like to do more private classes but travelling on public transport makes that impossible," he said.

Socarrasin said his purchasing power had been cut by 40 percent. "A year ago with 100,000 pesos ($33) you could buy five products in the supermarket, now you can only get three."

The teacher said he tried to avoid big purchases except for emergencies.

"A few months ago I had to do some very costly work on the house and I had to buy some very expensive books I need for work. Those are the two times I used the credit card."

Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
arabtoday arabtoday arabtoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabs, Arab, Arab